Patience, tolerance and knowledge: this is the way of the true teacher. The ability to hold one’s tongue when all around you tempts you to open your gob and say what you really want is the true test of skill and strength in the classroom. You may want to speak the truth, as you see it but you can’t – you are the teacher, the adult in the room, the one who is trained, educated and above vengeful verbal vitriol. No, actually, it’s because if you’re truthful to the wrong sort of child you can lose your job.
I have known teachers who said what they wanted, but they were by and large feared. Certainly I’ve had robust relationships with some of my classes, but thats tended to be with senior classes, who’ve got their act together, who you don’t need to pretend with, where the whole ambiance is quite different. I remember my Writing Workshop classes from St Pat’s fondly, where the whole world was up for discussion and I was brutally honest about their work and their behaviour and they were all completely cool about it.
So, if I could say what I wanted…
Do you really think I care about your pathetic life?
I hate you too, you fat ugly bitch
You’re a spoilt brat and your mother is a stupid witch for allowing you to become so arrogant on the basis of nothing at all
I’m only paid to care about your C
You are destined for the gutter – sooner rather than later I think
Perhaps if you weren’t so ugly you’d be nicer
Clearly my 30 years experience means nothing in the face of your amazing intellect
Yes, fail, I don’t actually care
You’re right I do think you’re dumb as dog shit
How stupid are you?
You’re calling Lennie thick…
Yes, there is no point to Shakespeare, to poetry, to stories, to books; there is no point to anything at all, so go off and shoot yourself now and save the rest of us your pointless whining and moaning
My dog is smarter than you, better looking and infinitely nicer to be around
Have you left your brain on the bus?
Do you have any thoughts at all, one lonely one, even?
Yes, you are stupid and lazy and will amount to nothing
You really think someone is going to employ you when you can’t even bring a bloody pen to class…
Don’t open your mouth ever again as all you say is shit
This is the biggest load of crap I have ever read, there is nothing redeeming about it. I’ll just throw it in the bin, where it belongs
Your writing is unbelievably boring
Silly me, you are a Princess, I forgot, no-one call tell you what to do
I forgot, you’re here to be entertained, not to learn, not to work but to have fun. Oh deary me, how could I forget that I’m not a circus clown.
No, of course you can do what you like; so can I, so next time I see you on the street I’ll run you down in my car
I can’t wait for you to get into the real world and get smacked down for speaking to someone else the way you speak to me
It’s just as well your mother loves you
I’d throw myself under the nearest bus if you were my child
Shut up now and forever
Just get over yourself
Fuck right off
But what I say instead is…
I’m sure you can get a C if you just apply yourself
I would prefer it if you sat here, in this seat this lesson
When you’re calm we can go over this again
Perhaps you could listen now
You do need to apply yourself
Learning isn’t just about fun, you have to do some work to pass
I’d like you to go outside for a while
I’m here to help you
Indeed I need to add consummate liar to the list of professional attributes at the beginning of this blog. Being able to lie convincingly seems to be the central skill of my job. As Lady Macbeth says to Macbeth in their murder planning phase ‘look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t’ (Act1, scene5). It seems I’ve been following her advice as long as Apple have been around, so no doubt I’ll manage to keep doing it until I am blessed by full and complete retirement. (Images from Google Images and Private Collection)